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Print Guide: Digital - Litho - Inkjet, What do I need?

Print Guide: Digital - Litho - Inkjet, What do I need?

Litho Print

As technology moves on in our ever-changing world the print industry is having to adapt rapidly! 

Digital Print, Litho Print and Wide Format Print are three completely different processes to achieve the same result.  But the very nature of each process means each has a particular area of work to which it is better suited in comparison to the others. We are in no way trying to preach to the converted, but we often get asked the difference and this post is a quick and easy guide to understanding which process works best for any particular application.

The changing print market means clients don’t necessarily distinguish between the different print processes, but the discerning client will want to understand what suits their needs best and this understanding can mean they receive…

  1. Better value for money.
  2. Higher Quality end product 
  3. Faster lead times

All of which can drive your business to grow, saving costs, winning more clients and more.

A proactive print supplier will be able to help you make the choice on which process works best for you, based on the merits of the printed product you are creating.

This is the second in a series of three posts, a Free Guide, that will give you a better knowledge and enable you to make informed decisions for your business.

This is the now traditional form of printing (Which superseded letterpress) and is the process that you may be aware of with ink, rollers, chemistry and printing plates. Considered a bit of a black art for many years but when executed properly delivers stunning results and economies of scale.

Litho works but using an anodised aluminium plate, with ink rollers and water rollers resting on it as the plate cylinder rotates, the image is burned onto the plate then washed before it gets to press, where the anodisation remains – the ink sticks, where the anodised coating is washed away the water sticks and in simple terms oil and water don mix – that is the lithographic process. In essence this still the case some 50 years after it became mainstream but modern presses have become extremely complex, automated and computerised to deliver faster setup times, faster running speeds and outstanding quality. We are one of the first print companies in the UK to invest in the new Hybrid UV print process where we no longer need to wait for ink to dry, so there is no marking, now drying time, shorter lead times and much more environmentally sound. 

For a quick and easy guide, in summary here are the pro’s and con’s of litho print in real terms for the client.

What are the Benefits of Litho Print? 

  1. Premium Quality
  2. Reduced unit prices 
  3. More paper options (and at Remous plastics too)
  4. Spot Pantone and metallic colours
  5. Perfect registration
  6. Larger sheet sizes.  

(7. At Remous, our Lightcure technology delivers instantly dry print the same as digital print)

What are the Challenges of Litho Print?

  1. Higher setup costs
  2. Longer process (Needs plates to be made)
  3. No variable data etc
  4. Short run can be expensive compared to digital.

What is Litho Print suited to?

So interesting as that may be, how does that apply to you?

It depends on the project is the short answer!  We often get asked:  ‘when is litho more competitive than digital?’ which is very difficult to answer as it depends on the product being printed. 1000 books would most likely be more suited to litho but 1000 leaflets would be digital.

 When we are given a brief to quote we will also discuss what you are looking to achieve, how many you would prefer and the intended use. A village fete programme will be more about cost and timing than a corporate brochure which will need to exhibit premium quality, brand consistency and eye catching print. In general promotional literature certainly that require brand consistency will be printed using our litho press, any items that need pantone colours or metallic colours would also be a litho print job.

The important thing to ask yourself is what is the primary function of my print – what is most important about the final product and start with that end in mind. If you are unsure or would like more advice on a specific print project – just call or email us via the web form here on the site Contact Us and we will help.


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